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Sneaky banks fail to announce new fees

Update: June, 22/2012 - 10:34

HCM CITY — Banks have quietly doubled some kind of fees, including charges for money withdrawals from other banks' ATMs, checking accounts and money transfers, even though the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) is currently collecting opinions about ATM fees.

Bank clients have been angry with the increase in fees, as many of them were not notified.

"Why didn't the banks inform us about the increase for clients," Thu Hang, who works at a communications company in Phu Nhuan District, was quoted as saying in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Ha, who works at Esprinta company in the southern province of Binh Duong, complained that her company sent her salary to the Viet Nam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) account but there were only two ATMs for her company of several thousand workers. The machines belong to Vietcombank.

"Techcombank didn't notify us, and Vietcombank collects a high fee for money withdrawals," Ha said.

Some banks have not increased fees for external transactions, but raised their fees for internal transactions.

The Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) collects VND1,100 for each checking account and printing of balance, and VND2,200 for each transaction in its internal system. Previously, all services were free.

The Agricultural Bank (Agribank) collects VND550 if customers use ATMs at different branches.

Vietcombank started charging internal transaction and account management fees in April.

"Fee collections for outside and internal systems are part of the policy of each bank. It's not related to the State Bank of Viet Nam or credit alliances," said Ngo Ngoc Dong, general director of the Viet Nam International Financial Switching Joint Stock company (Banknetvn).

According to Dong, banks would like to collect ATM fees as soon as they can because of the huge investment they have made in their ATM systems.

But the SBV first wants to fully calculate all expenditures and suggest reasonable fees so that the rights of both customers and banks are ensured.

All banks are currently waiting for approval from the SBV.

"I was really surprised to know that banks increased fees for external transaction as well as created more different fees," said Nguyen Tu Anh, general director of Smartlink company.

At a recent meeting, all banks had agreed to not increase any kind of fee this year, but they had now broken their commitment, she added.

The SBV has finished a draft for ATM fee collection with an expected fee of VND1,000 for each internal transaction. The policy is planned to take effect early next year.

Banks will have to announce their fee level for 2013 and the years to come.

"The SBV would like to manage the fee because it will affect 40 million bank customers," Tu Anh added. — VNS

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